First Google rolled out recommendations for “pages similar to” earlier this week, now they also appear to be testing brand recommendations in response to certain queries. As I reported at the Search Engine Roundtable, some users are seeing “brands for” recommendations for searches such as [digital cameras], [cheap laptops], [label printers], [fishing rod] and others.
Here is a screen capture:
This does seem to be using similar functionality to what Google launched in November, for their product search expansion, but here the brands are listed at the top of the results. The big brands are getting more exposure in the Google search results than possibly ever before.
I have asked Google for a comment and all I have yet to receive is:
As before, on questions about testing and this design, this is just a test and at this point we don’t have more to share. But, please do stay tuned. We’ll be sure to keep you in the loop about any new developments.
What I really want to know is how do brands get the ability to show up in these brand boxes? Are they reserved for only large brands? If so, what is the rational behind Google testing this feature?
Postscript From Danny Sullivan: It’s worth noting a some things over the past year that Google has done in terms of brands.
About a year ago, Aaron Wall of SEO Book reported on an amazing trend where web sites from notable brands appeared to perform much better in search results than in the past. Google suggested this wasn’t brand-specific but rather related to new “trust” metrics (see Google’s Vince Update Produces Big Brand Rankings; Google Calls It A Trust “Change”).
Also last year, Google CEO Eric Schmidt reiterated comments he had made in the past about about the idea of the web as a “sewer” where “brands” represent quality that stands out.